I managed to sneak home for lunch today and catch a few innings of the Mets/Nationals Spring Training opener. It was really great to see Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and others playing real, actual baseball. Aaron Heilman, in typical Heilman fashion, gave up two bombs en route to a 5-3 loss.
All told, though it was nice to finally see baseball again, the game was sooooo boooooorrinng. It's also nice to know that Steve Phillips, who was calling the game for ESPN, no longer makes personnel decisions for the Mets. I say that because he "likes what the Nationals have done" in terms of player acquisitions. Huh?
He can't be talking about Christian Guzman and his .266/.303/.382 career output. He's certainly not talking about Vinny Castilla, whose OPS for his last three seasons outside of Colorado are .771, .616, and .562. Both players are pretty good with the glove, but how much is that worth if you can't hit a lick?
Not only that, but GM Jim Bowden shelled out nigh $20 million for the life of the two contracts. The 7/$119 million deals like Carlos Beltran's are not the problem with baseball's economics. It's the millions of dollars overspent on marginal production, like the 4/$16 on Guzman or 3/$27 the D'Backs spent on Russ Ortiz that throw everything out of whack.
Those are the types of deals that have killed the Mets since 2000. It's the millions spent on mediocre-to-average players like Roger Cedeno, Kevin Appier, or to huge injury risks like Cliff Floyd. The Mets should be spending their wealth on the best players in the league and using their scouts and analysts to find the players who are low-risk and fill specific needs.
They finally appear to be doing just that.